What little I know about bike messengers I learned from the boyfriend of an old roommate. His body was covered in scabs, and he had his number tattooed on his knuckles, which seemed a rather permanent declaration of bike messengerhood. But it is less a job than a point of view: a certain superiority—I get to ride my bike while you’re cooped up inside all day—coupled with a hostility aimed at office types and incompetent drivers. Tony Mendoza gets down the nitty-gritty in his comedy “58,” now running Thursday nights in the Annoyance Theatre’s new space in Uptown. Mendoza has a cheerfully hangdog mien that gives an extra lift to some of his best putdowns, and there are some killer lines in the show. There are also plenty of strained performances by the rest of the cast, who are relegated to playing variations on obnoxiousness. Eventually, Mendoza begins dating a cubicle dweller (Thea Lux, giving a funny, low-key, bitchy-girl delivery) and, at her urging, he quits the streets in favor of florescent lighting and a workplace dress code, which he promptly shits on every chance he gets. We all know about the life-sucking force of the corporate world, and you have to wonder why Mendoza abandoned the originality of his material to tread waters better navigated by “The Office.” It is around this point that the show begins to feel long-winded—despite director Pat McKenna’s efforts to keep things moving—but Mendoza’s stage presence is unique and appealing throughout, and he offers a sardonic glimpse into the subculture of bike messengers. (Nina Metz)
“58” plays Thursdays at the Annoyance Theatre, 4840 North Broadway, (773)561-4665.